Legs Up the Wall Week!

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My legs, up ‘da wall.

I just found out yesterday that this week (February 4-10) is Lululemon’s Legs Up the Wall Week! Confused? Don’t fret- let me fill you in…

Legs Up the Wall is a yoga pose in which you lay on your back, scoot your bum right up to the wall and put your legs up against said wall. You want to lay here for 5 to 30 minutes, or really as long as you feel comfortable. You can put your arms wherever you want too- over your head, down by your side or outstretched. Sounds simple, right? It is, and it feels absolutely amazing!

According to Lululemon’s blog, this pose has several benefits, (especially to all of us runners out there) besides being extremely relaxing:

  • “Your femur bones are dropping into your hip sockets, relaxing your psoas. These are the muscles that help you walk and support your lower back.”
  • “Blood is draining out of your tired feet and legs.”
  • “Your nervous system is getting a signal to slow down. It’s all stress release and recovery big time.”

For runners, this is a really great yoga pose and probably my favorite aside from savasana (which doesn’t really count). As runners, we spend a lot of time on our feet and legs and we rarely give them a chance to full relax and just be still. It’s also a great hamstring stretch after a long run and can help loosen up those muscles. When I do this, I also feel a great release in my lower back, an area that does more work than one might think while running.

I know it’s already Thursday but I’m going to partake in Legs Up the Wall week, will you join me? If you do, make sure you take a picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #legsupthewall to show Lululemon!

While you’re at it, follow me on Instagram here!

Anywhere yoga {Infographic}

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past few months, you may realize my go-to fitness site is the Greatist. As a journalist I can really appreciate the amount of time, research, interviewing and fact-checking that goes into each and every article they write. As a multimedia journalist working in the ever-evolving and technologically advancing field of journalism, I can appreciate their efforts to make outstanding graphics that are easy to read, follow and share.

A few days ago they posted a great graphic about various yoga poses you can do literally anywhere, including the bathroom on an airplane. In training for my upcoming half-marathon and marathon I’ve incorporated a lot of yoga into my training plan for cross-training and stretching. This graphic is so helpful especially when you may be tired after sitting for a long time, say while working at your desk or taking a long flight. I tested out some of these positions in the bathroom at my office today and they are totally doable. I will admit I didn’t try any of the ones that involved touching the floor but I wouldn’t hesitate to try it at home. Let me know what you think!

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Back on track: 3-mile run after knee injury

Post-run yoga outside after my 3-miles

Last weekend I tweaked my knee during a race and it was extremely painful. I’m still not 100 percent sure what I did but it feels like an IT band irritation. In an effort to not hurt it even more I decided to forgo my 12-mile run last weekend and do some real resting.

It was absolutely killing me not running. I saw other runners out on the road and I just wanted to get up and go. But I knew if I started up I could risk hurting myself even more so I really rested.

Today was my first day back on the road and I decided to do a 3-mile run along the beach (on the road not the sand). I woke up, had some coffee and a few glasses of water. I went outside and it was really humid and already 85 degrees at 8:30 a.m. but I went ahead and did my stretches and headed out.

Starting out my knee felt fine and I was just so happy to be back running. About 1-mile into the run I started to feel the pain in my knee, but it wasn’t so strong that I felt like I needed to stop. So I kept going. Around mile 2 my knee was really starting to bother me so I decided to stop and do a few stretches. After stretching I started my final mile and my knee felt the best it has it days. I don’t know if it was the stretching that helped or my adrenalin kicked or what but I felt great!

Overall, I thought the run went really well! I was so happy to get back on the road even though I was only out for five days but it felt great. After the run I did some outdoor yoga and other stretches to make sure my knee was going to be OK. Moral of the story? When you’re hurt, rest. Don’t overdo it because you could get even more injured. I’m hoping to get out running again tomorrow and try to do a longer run along the coast.

I hope everyone else is having good runs this week. Happy running!

Week 8: Half-marathon update

via Pinterest

This was quite a crazy training week. It involved only three days of running unfortunately, one race and a whole bunch of yoga and strength training.

Monday was technically a rest day so I decided to do my typical rest day routine of recovery yoga and core exercises. It was uneventful but a good workout. Tuesday I planned to run a tempo run after work but I ended up having to stay at work much later than usual and consequentially got stuck in traffic so I decided to nix the run because I was exhausted. Instead, I came home and did some core exercises and rest up for the next day.

Wednesday was my day and to be honest I went hard with my training. I went to the gym after work with my sister and did my first ever pick-up run which was pretty intense. I wrote a post about it earlier in the week that you can check out if you’re interested in trying out a pick-up run, but basically this is what I did:

3-mile run with one interval each of 60s, 120s, 120s, 60s, 45s, 30s and 15s

I really enjoyed the pick-up run because it pushed me to test myself and my speed. I was able to keep up an intensity level of ’8′ during each interval. After running, I did a whole bunch of strengthening exercises with my sister, including some lifting. As a runner, it’s just as important to build muscle as it is to work on speed and mileage. Muscles will help your body respond to runs and support your joints.

Thursday I woke up early and did a 3-mile run that included some hill workouts. It went really well but after the run, my right knee was bothering me a little. I did some post-run stretches which seemed to ease the pain.

I took a break on Friday with some power strength yoga and core exercises, which was perfect because it was a long week at work so it felt great to relax and sweat it out at the same time. I also had to gear up for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics!

Post Color Run color madness!

Saturday I had to wake up super early to get ready to run the New England Color Run in Amesbury, MA (post to follow). In short, the race was tons of fun! I ran it with a group of friends and we were doused in color. We came away with some great photos and memories. Unfortunately, I also came away with a pretty significant knee strain on my right knee. I’m hoping it’s just a strain and nothing serious but it’s pretty painful right now.

Due to the knee strain I decided to make the smart decision to skip my 12-mile run I was supposed to do today. I still have two months until the Smuttynose Half Marathon and risking injuring myself even more is not worth it right now. I was bummed though because I’ve been looking forward to this run all week. After icing my knee all morning I went to the gym and did some cross training (3 miles on the elliptical in 25 minutes) and then a ton of strengthening exercises for my arms and core.

In this week of training what I’ve come away with is, it’s so important to listen to your body and if you have a strain or pain it’s better to take it easy rather than pushing your limits and your luck. Fingers crossed my knee will be better by tomorrow and I can get back on track! (No pun intended!)

Happy running!

Lululemon yoga for runners

As I’ve been training for the half-marathon in September, I’ve been using the Lululemon SeaWheeze half-marathon training app on my iPhone. On the non-running days it suggests doing yoga to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your legs. Unfortunately, my gym doesn’t offer yoga or any group fit classes so on these yoga days I usually just ignored it and went running anyways.

That was until I discovered the Lululemon YouTube channel! What a treasure! They have a bunch of yoga videos geared specifically toward running the half-marathon, as well as other yoga videos. I had used some of the short post-run yoga, or what they like to call “Run into Yoga (RINY)”  in the app but I never explored outside of it.

When I found these videos last night I decided I would wake up early this morning to do a power yoga video because today was supposed to be a “rest” day. It was fantastic!  In the app, Lululemon describes power yoga as “a high-intensity, fast-paced style that emphasizes overall body strength and stamina.” They also say it’s a great way to build “balanced strength” which is especially good for runners. My legs have been super tight this week and I don’t know about you but those pesky hip-flexors are the hardest to stretch out but this power yoga video was great for that.

Posted below is the power flow yoga video I did this morning. I would also highly recommend visiting Lululemon’s YouTube channel, hit subscribe and give yoga a try.